Handbags and gladrags: Vintage xmas fashion show struts into Northern Quarter

Manchester’s lovers of all things retro are in for a festive treat as The Gladrags and Handbags Vintage Christmas Fashion Show comes to the Northern Quarter’s Tib Street Tavern on December 4.

Customers will get an exclusive preview of the store’s pre-loved clothes and accessories in a catwalk show and will be offered special discounts.

There will also be the chance to get a professional makeover from the team of Cassie Lomas Make-Up Academy while enjoying mulled wine and other Christmas-y drinks in a lovely seasonal setting.

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Carmel Friend, the owner of Gladrags and Handbags, opened the online boutique in September this year and is looking forward to seeing it come to life in the old-fashioned market place next week.

Some of the garments will be presented this Friday and Saturday at the Piccadilly craft markets. 

Carmel shared the inspiration behind her vintage boutique and the Christmas show with MM.

She said: “I’ve always been into vintage since I was a young girl. My mum used to take me to jumble sales. We used to go along and bag different bargains and there was always a real buzz and excitement.

“We also used to have a ‘Rag and Bone’ man on our street. This is basically a man who comes out with a horse and cart and shouts ‘Rag and Bone’ and everyone would come out with their leftovers – anything they didn’t want – and donate them to him.

“And when I went to university I volunteered at Oxfam and I was working in one of the main shops in Leeds so again my love just continued to grow and grow from there.

“I’ve always gone into charity shops to look for unusual items, things that were different, but well-made and good quality.

“My friends always used to look out for bargains for me, because I was well-known for wearing vintage pieces.

“So it just grew and grew over the years and I decided to fulfil my dream of opening an online vintage shop which I did this year.”

Carmel has different suppliers from Yorkshire and Manchester. She goes to them and hand picks each of the garments herself.

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She added: “I’m looking for quality garments that are well-made, but not only that, they have to be on trend and be suited to contemporary fashion trends.

“The 60s are really in at the moment – people are going for the 60s shift dresses. They are really high fashion.

“Also, the vintage coats are really trendy. Everyone needs a good quality coat for the winter and buying a vintage coat means you will have a timeless piece which will last year after year after year and you are guaranteed that nobody else will be wearing the same coat as you.

“I’m trying to source the best quality, on-trend garments that I can find for all of our customers.

In the boutique you can find original clothes from the 1960s to the 1980s – to be classified as vintage, clothes must be made before the 1990s.

Carmel shared a few tricks on how to spot whether or not an item is genuinely vintage.

She said: “You can tell that a garment is vintage by looking at the label, the way the garment is made, the silhouette and by the fastening and the zips on the garment.

“Vintage can be defined by the era that it is from. The 80s might have a certain style, especially the shoulder pads. The 60s will have the classic shift dress. So it depends which era it is from.”

Some days Carmel will be out discovering timeless pieces, others she will be doing a vintage fair or photo shoot.

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The boutique owner told MM how much she loves her job. She said: “It is a passion so it is living out my passion but through work.

“Every single day is just completely different. It is great – I am my own boss and I can plan what I need to do each day – meeting different people, going to different places and being able to be in charge.”

You can buy tickets for The Gladrags and Handbags Vintage Christmas Fashion Show by clicking here and have a browse through the boutique’s garments by clicking here. 

Images courtesy of The Gladrags and Handbags with thanks.

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